Woolworths’s action disadvantages white and black

2012-09-07 12:40

Ernst Roets

With the Paralympics in the background, a message came up on my Twitter. It is a link to Ferial Haffajee’s article in defence of Woolworths’s discriminating advertisements for posts, which according to her, form part of a seemingly essential racially based affirmative action process, which will help make the country a better place. In the circumstances, I couldn’t help but recall the American writer “of colour”, Dinesh D’Souza’s description of affirmative action as a type of “Special Olympics” for blacks.

Haffajee paints an emotional picture of the black people in her class who, with their imperfect teeth, were inferior to the whites in class, they with their perfectly straight teeth. She comes to the conclusion that the playing field, 18 years post 1994, is still not level and that affirmative action is a necessity. She argues that affirmative action is not discrimination because it is enshrined in the Constitution (a non sequitur argument in my opinion), and continues her argument by typecasting Solidarity and AfriForum as obstacles in this regard and by comparing me with Julius Malema – ouch!

Haffajee’s perspective and that of the ANC, that poverty, unemployment and inequality constitute South Africa’s biggest problems, is not disputed. What is being disputed though, are the so-called solutions which are being proffered. Haffajee, together with the ANC, subscribes to the school of thought which believes in the promotion of formal equality, in contrast to substantive equality.

The difference is simple.

Different starting blocks

Those who believe in formal equality support affirmative action as solution. This is an outcomes based approach according to which the success of equality measures is measured by the formal outcome of the process – in this instance, if the labour market is “representative” (read 90% black).

In contrast, the supporters of substantive equality believe in training as solution. This is an input based approach according to which success is measured by the question of whether people can compete on an equal footing and can enter the labour market without being categorised into groups.

An outcomes based perspective on equality implies that for some the finishing post must be moved further away from the starting line to prevent the fittest athlete from winning. This is exactly what we are experiencing in South Africa at the moment, and Woolworths’s recent “blacks only” advertisement is a striking example. A sounder approach is to invest in training. It would imply that unfit athletes must be equipped with proper equipment (read training) to ensure that all can compete on a level playing field, thus eliminating the need for different starting lines (read race quotas).

Regardless of what Haffajee and the other quota supporters like Jimmy Manyi say, the implications of this manipulation of the winning posts are highly immoral, and could even be of catastrophic consequence to black South Africans.

“Black” or “disadvantaged”?

As City Press editor, Haffajee must surely be aware of the fact that a white police woman recently had to turn to the courts to convey the message that it is wrong to apply job reservation based on race. I don’t know if she is also aware of Basil Kourie, the ex South African, who is currently studying medicine at the University of Texas. Basil obtained 7 distinctions in matric and passed with an average of almost 90%. He was, however, rejected by every medical school in South Africa on the grounds of “inadequate academic performance” to make way for lesser-performing black matriculants. In order to comply with affirmative action requirements, the matriculants were admitted not because of their being disadvantaged but solely because they are black. Basil, on the other hand, was rejected not because of his being advantaged, but solely because he is white.

Similarly, I don’t know if she is aware of the white students who were not allowed to attend extra classes at the University of Pretoria, earmarked as “black only, or if she is aware of the list of institutions refusing to grant bursaries to white students on the grounds of race.

The reality is that white men only constitute about 4,5% of the population. If all white men were to be removed from the labour market at once, then 95,5% of the population would still not be accommodated.

Short sighted

It is myopic to argue in favour of affirmative action during a time in which South Africa is grappling with a huge education crisis. Last year, 348 117 learners passed matric, while 1 055 397 learners started Grade 1 twelve years ago. This means that less than 33% of 2000’s Grade ones have passed matric twelve years later, not to mention the burning of text books, the lowering of academic standards and the political meddling at schools and universities.

D’Souza voices concern about Americans’ black inferiority complex and refers to a type of Special Olympics to illustrate that affirmative action would entrench the complex rather than counter it. It is, according to him, a method of telling blacks to rather not compete with their white peers.

Woolworths can therefore exclude white staff until they are blue in the face. It will never make a contribution to solve this country’s inequality problem.

•    Ernst Roets is AfriForum’s Deputy CEO. Follow him on Twitter at @ernstroets.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.


  • gustav.kriel.3 - 2012-09-07 12:54

    Ernst Roets... Nice 1!!

      andreas.meyer.12327 - 2012-09-07 13:57

      Just a bit too apologetic for my taste. But right he is.

      ronald.utenhage - 2012-09-07 15:21

      It is truly sad that MOST of the people, who were oppressed, disenfranchised and victims of racism for decades cannot read your stories of hardship and exclusion. Yes the education system in crap, yes the ANC perpetuates corruption, yes Nelson’s dream is no longer. Yes AA en Employment Equity has flaws but at a very basic level its purpose and intention is good, to empower the disadvantaged. BTW I have also been a ‘victim ‘of EE, this I saw as a challenge and through perseverance I succeeded

      andreas.meyer.12327 - 2012-09-07 16:17

      Ronald, the purpose of AA/BEE is to purchase the support of qualified degreed Blacks nothing else. And thurlo, please get your facts straight, before perpetuating myth. Black backwardness is the result of their own incompetence and maliciousness of groups like the ANC. The old Nats, just worked with the realistic assumption that there isn't really a place for Blacks in White society and that Blacks should have societies of their own.

      thurlo.cicero - 2012-09-07 16:29

      So andreas the... Population Registration Act of 1950 Group Areas Act of 1950 Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 Immorality Act of 1950 Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of 1953 Suppression of Communism Act of 1950 Bantu Authorities Act of 1951 Bantu Education Act of 1953 ..are all just a myth and Black backwardness is the result of their own incompetence and maliciousness of groups like the ANC? I'm not even going to enter into such a discussion - our history speaks for itself and i suggest you read up on it.

      Jason - 2012-09-07 16:43

      @Thurlo, you miss the point and you are living in the past!!!! We are looking to the future. South Africa is the only country in the world that has a BEE policy to protect the ruling majority from the non ruling minority. All the young White kids finishing matric now are going to be marginalized due to BEE that right???? Thats Racism! two wrongs dont make a right.

      claudia.meads - 2012-09-07 18:23

      ronald.utenhage If you cannot empower yourself then there is no system on earth (and beyond) that will EVER do it for you - Ferial Haffajee is a prime example, so is Chris Gardener, Oprah Winfrey and alike. The reason "...he education system in crap, the ANC perpetuates corruption, Nelson’s dream is no longer..." is because of Affirmative Action, can you conceivably grasp that..? There is NOTHING about AA's "...purpose and intention [that] is good...". It is wholly flawed and completely unworkable - it has never- and will never work, not here- and nowhere else. It creates a rage of ENTITLEMENT and DEPENDENCY that takes a country to a place like Marikana. If Apartheid was a crime against humanity, then Affirmative Action is a crime against the human race. "...people, who were oppressed, disenfranchised and victims of racism for decades..." What about the oppression the Afrikaner suffered under the British - almost 1/3rd of a nation was terminated in less than two years. Nothing like that ever happened under Apartheid. Just a reminder: if you succeeded then you are NOT a victim of EE.., yet. Talk to you in ten years - let see how you feel then.

      claudia.meads - 2012-09-07 18:28

      ronald.utenhage If you cannot empower yourself then there is no system on earth (and beyond) that will EVER do it for you - Ferial Haffajee is a prime example, so is Chris Gardener, Oprah Winfrey and alike. The reason "...he education system in crap, the ANC perpetuates corruption, Nelson’s dream is no longer..." is because of Affirmative Action, can you conceivably grasp that..? There is NOTHING about AA's "...purpose and intention [that] is good...". It is wholly flawed and completely unworkable - it has never- and will never work, not here- and nowhere else. It creates a rage of ENTITLEMENT and DEPENDENCY that takes a country to a place like Marikana. If Apartheid was a crime against humanity, then Affirmative Action is a crime against the human race. "...people, who were oppressed, disenfranchised and victims of racism for decades..." What about the oppression the Afrikaner suffered under the British - almost 1/3rd of a nation was terminated in less than two years. Nothing like that ever happened under Apartheid. Just a reminder: if you succeeded then you are NOT a victim of EE.., yet. Talk to you in ten years - let see how you feel then.

      piet.strydom - 2012-09-08 13:01

      @Blackyoungandangry - You go and exactly prove why the culture of affirmative action can never work - it creates a culture of entitlement, of receiving rewards without work. It simply cannot work. In my "advantaged past", there was no money for me to go to university, so I worked during the day, and studied at night, until I got my degree. Did I moan and groan that it took my five years to get a 3-year degree. No, it was what it was, and I got it done. Did I moan and groan because I never finished my qualification - No, I shut up, and made the best of what I got given. ANd by the grace of God, without any plans of that nature from my side, I am now in a country where my children compete on an even footing, where I am rewarded based on my skills and not my skin colour. Lastly, after 18 years of affirmative action, why is it that whites have the lowest rate of unemployment ever? Because they are willing to work. 'n Boer maak 'n plan.

      louis.olivier.988 - 2012-09-09 11:35

      Haffajee is an AA herself. Haffajee when this racist anc government that you silently support starts excluding Asians due to it racist policies, what will you do or say then. It is so easy to say what you said if you're not on the receiving end. Haffajee when does this racism stop, after a civil war or when all the whites have been exterminated or when they turn on the Asians…. Do you remember 1948? This is a racist government that does not want the whites here; they will never admit it and I would not be surprised if there is a hidden agenda to deny the whites a place in the sun in this hell hole

  • andy.rossell - 2012-09-07 12:57

    When Nelson Mandela became president he promised equal opportunities for all South Africans the ANC has split this nation and devided us with BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT WHICH HAS FAIILED DISMALLY.

      dimitripappas - 2012-09-07 13:28

      I wish I could spend the time on my life doing more positive things than this, but facts are facts and awareness must be spread. Nelson Mandela's dream for SA has been shattered. Way to go ANC! Shame on you, Racists. This country is falling apart as racial tension increases in light of Malema as well as the most recent BEE/AA scandals. Why are they destroying our potentially BEAUTIFUL, PEACEFUL, CLEAN, UNIFIED DEMOCRACY of SA? Because they're DIRTY GREEDY ANIMALS, that's why. 1 word: UNSUSTAINABLE.

      gustav.venter.5 - 2012-09-07 13:30

      Black economic empowerment, Affirmative Action, not to mention the culture of corruption, all started on Mandela's watch. He is the father of BEE and AA.

      andreas.meyer.12327 - 2012-09-07 13:59

      That's what he promised. But surely no intelligent White person did take that seriously. Or did they?

      ihekwoabatony.saso - 2012-09-07 14:51

      What do you mean by dirty animals?

      dimitripappas - 2012-09-07 14:59

      ihekwoabatony.saso: I mean two things: (1) the government who are greedy and inconsiderate to their own poverty-stricken people and allow the country to go to shambles whilst they line their pockets and fly their private jets (2) the thugs who collect in numbers daily to raid people's homes/farms to disembowel, pluck out eyes, even rape old women. I guess I see what you mean... dirty animals isn't enough of a description for these people? I guess the the English language was never prepared to describe these sorts of moral atrocities. If you don't like that term, please will you help me find a better description for these people?

      ihekwoabatony.saso - 2012-09-07 15:11

      I'm not convinced with your explanations, will look into that and keep you posted.

      mkhululi.mnyaka - 2012-09-07 15:16

      many things have changed in South Africa, or not many things have changed. what has changed is the physiognomy of white power wrapped under the guise of non-racialism.

      dimitripappas - 2012-09-07 15:19

      @ihekoabatony: Oh, so you're not convinced? In other words you do not RECOGNIZE any of the crime and corruption that happens to be RIFE in this country at this very moment (not to mention the last 20 years)? Have you been hiding in a cave, perhaps? Are you that clueless to the happenings going on around you in your own country? I mean that level of ignorance can't surely be due to anything other than severe cognitive impairement. You handicapped in that way by any chance? Otherwise it seems to me you have no excuse for not recognizing those Facts...

      ihekwoabatony.saso - 2012-09-07 15:28

      Well, all I have to tell you is to be careful with sentences applied while describing a situation to avoid upsetting some group of people, Be wise with your post via Social Networks, No Human can be address as animal no matter what the situation maybe ... I rest my case

      Jason - 2012-09-07 16:52

      @Fragtion he is basically saying you are racist for calling them animals. Which is a typical response from a black guy when a white guy complains about corruption and crime. Fact of the matter is he is not looking at how these things will effect his children in this country. When all foreign investment dries up because people dont want to invest in a country where farmers and their families are murdered. grannies are raped. Government is corrupt and lining their own pockets. And white people cant apply for jobs. then he will sit back scratch his head and say "eish what went wrong". We used to have 120 000 farmers feeding our people, since the government started with land reform, and farmers started being murdered we now have 37 000. Which means we are now importing 80% of our staple food source, Maize!!!! Agg i can go on and on.

      dimitripappas - 2012-09-07 17:40

      Jason, I see. Well I just want him to know then that when I refer to "them" as savages, I'm by no means referring to the entire black race, but the ones who actually commit the crimes I listed. Unless he considers himself prone to commit those crimes, he is not a part of the problem. He should not defend the crime offenders, though, as surely that makes him one of them?

      piet.strydom - 2012-09-08 13:08

      @ihekwoabatony.saso This is what we mean with dirty animals. Except it is wrong to call them animals, animals do not do these kinds of things: (NOT for sensitive viewers. - The graphical reality of black on white violence in South Africa.)

  • esethu3 - 2012-09-07 12:58


      introspector.smith - 2012-09-07 13:20

      Don't sigh, rather read.

      chris.gill.9849 - 2012-09-07 13:29

      Esethu, I am a white male and I can promise you that my marks were nowhere near the 90's in high school. Black or white you have to be exceptional to achieve that. Denying him the chance to become a doctor (which SA sorely needs) because he was born white is disgusting. Did we only end apartheid so we could change the signs from "Slegs Blanke" to "Geen Blanke"?

      dewalds3 - 2012-09-07 13:32

      The verbal eloquence of the ignorant...

      andy.rossell - 2012-09-07 13:44

      Please dont sigh together we can fix the problems we need to know your true feelings

      cathy.dejongh.5 - 2012-09-07 15:18

      How do any of you know what Esethu_Hasane is sighing about?

  • stephen.grant.186 - 2012-09-07 13:17

    Well said!!!!

  • mastersvoice - 2012-09-07 13:19

    Excellent retort Ernst. AA further dulls excellence by creating a sense of entitlement among the benefactors of this racist practice. If someone is entitled to a job based purely on colour, why would he or she want to excel at it?

  • koo.doyle - 2012-09-07 13:20

    Very well said.

  • christiaanoosthuizen - 2012-09-07 13:21

    WOW.. New24 is trying to pull its reputation out of the gutter The fact that the allowed this article to be published speaks volumes of how bad them and WW look ..............LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO

  • allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-07 13:28

    If its so ethically correct , why don't they advertise it stating (no-whites) rather the long list of who is allowed . Anyway, claim whatever race you want to be , there is no classifcation system out there that could repudiate your claim and the grand irony of the law itself. Race is self designated.

      chris.maakal - 2012-09-07 21:59

      Yes! Even Labour law code of good practise indicates this :)

  • hoepfne - 2012-09-07 13:31

    Well done man!!!! While I can't do much to change the Governments racist views, I can at least say if I am not good enough to work for Whoolies I don't have to buy there. One comment: you lay way to much emphsis on the woman with the teeth inferiority complex, and not enough emphasis on the plight of white men still trapped in various Government Departments who will never get promoted untill you fight each and every individual's case in court. How about holding the racist bosses reliable for legal fees and not the Taxpayers

  • gert314 - 2012-09-07 13:31

    If affirmative action is not discrimination because it is enshrined in the Constitution then surely apartheid was also not discrimination as it was the law of the time!

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-09-07 15:20

      AA is NOT in the constitution. The constitution guarantees equality for all. It lies.

      andreas.meyer.12327 - 2012-09-07 16:32

      "Apartheid" was not the name, separate development was. And at least the NATS would have been consistent with what they were saying. Btw. Black employers were never forced to have "affirmative action" for Whites in their businesses.

      pvtshenry - 2012-09-08 00:01

      Amen I couldnt agree more!!!

  • Jacques - 2012-09-07 13:38

    I guess what it all boils down to is- we're all buggered. We have been for centuries, and will be for at least another one to come. The 'first democratic elections' wasn't the dawn of 'freedom', but alas, merely a switch of flavour in terms of screwedness. This is Africa, after all.

  • greg.husted - 2012-09-07 13:41

    There is a difference between "leveling playing fields" and red carding an entire team. What do expect from WW? They are shopkeepers and therefore experts at window dressing. I would be embarrassed to apply for a "whites only" job I have self respect and dont need a hand out token job or "special olympics" career.

      tshepo.leballo - 2012-09-07 15:56

      Every job the white man applied for pre 94 was a whites only you speak for your entire family boet.

      dino.maocheia - 2012-09-07 20:22

      Fela. I understand you still angry about the past and want redemption, but what the past has done we cannot go back and undo it. I definitely couldn't say a thing because I was only 3 when the ANC came into power, but because of my skin colour. I'll give you a personal experience, I recently commenced a business that will be truly unique and helpful to SA. Unfortunately because I am White, no bank is prepared to give me "a loan that government gives out to start an enterprise because I am white". I can go on with a list, but there is no need to tell you because you have made up your mind. I am currently 21, and hated because of my skin colour. But that doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that affirmative action in recent years has gone worse and although I am working my way around it by working till 2am everyday, it saddens me to still be called a thief. I am asking you this, can you forgive the actions of those that suppressed you 18 years ago?

      piet.strydom - 2012-09-08 13:17

      If the ANC slogan was not "Make the country ungovernable", then the country might have been governable now. If the ANC slogan was not "No education before liberation", then the blacks might have been employable. If the ANC didn't shut down teaching and nursing colleges left, right and centre when they came to power, then we might have had a matric pass rate of more than 33%, and we might not have had to reduce the pass level to 35% to be able to achieve that.

  • James - 2012-09-07 13:43

    And then they(Ian Moir) write to their customers, trying to justify their actions. Well friend Ian, I have for many, many years bought exclusively from Woolworse (sic). I have a rather large family and will henceforth withdraw my patronage from your establishment in the same vain as you withdrew your support for my race. I know that the 500.00 + per day I used to spend at woolworse (sic0 will probably not hurt the business, but I can assure you I am not the only one. 500.00 per day for an average of 20 days per month? That's a a whopping 120K per year and if only 1,000 of us do it? You get my drift? Surely your competitors also adhere to the whole AA debacle, but at least they are not as arrogant or obnoxious about it as you are!

      christiaanoosthuizen - 2012-09-07 14:00

      only a 5%decline in sales from high value customers can put them in the red. CEO gone was self inflicted after all.

      don.frost.581 - 2012-09-07 14:35

      It would seem Aneeqah has not shopped recently? Can't get much at Woolies for R500 my friend!

      James - 2012-09-07 16:34

      Aneeqah, your idea is noble, but I will not be saving 500.00 as it will be spent for the same items at the opposition. It is not so much I that is the privileged one but the people whom I look after and feed because they cannot get employment in this wonderful country. And I do have my own business and over and above the people I feed I also employ a few. Assumption is the mother of all f#-ups - do not assume it makes an ass out of u and me.

      rosa.truter - 2012-09-08 11:09

      please. R10k per month at ww? Dont believe you for a second. If you can afford that much u should not moan about aa and ee. I think most of you that boycot have not shopped there in the first place. All you did in this comment was to brag about your wealth. Most black people earn in a year what you supposedly spend on groceries in a month. Actually makes an even stronger point for redress!

      janet.pretorius1 - 2012-09-10 09:39

      Yep - what I don't understand is that with all the power and influence big business has in this country - they could have some backbone and say No to any further EE and BBBEE and government would not be able to do anything about it. But let me be clear - I do agree with the principles of EE to redress past imbalances - just not in the way it is implemented. But then again - it appears to be implemented by someone with a little hr diploma or degree with 3 yrs of experience - and who still remains utterly clueless re productivity or work ethics. This statement is based on job descriptions I've seen which appear to be fit for a CEO and when the newby is employed - the job turns out to be basic admin that a matriculant could do - hence my comment about incompetent application of EE. Unfortunately I owe WW way too much to close my account - but I will also stop shopping there.

  • Hotbuttered - 2012-09-07 13:44

    Well put!!

  • shane.kennedy.142687 - 2012-09-07 14:01

    Thank you Ernst, good article, well written. BEE is merely the previosly disadvantaged extracting revenge on the currently disadvantaged, I don't see any reconciliation, or the rainbow nation we thought we were. If BEE was working, how is it that the same people, are starving in the same places. The education needs of the many are still being compromised and that the ranks of the disposessed have not shrunken, no, the ranks now just include whites.

      Jason - 2012-09-07 17:14

      The scary thing is white South Africans voted in the referendum to end Apartheid. However we are still 18 years later being punished for what the government of the time did. As someone wrote the other day, we dont want preference we just want a basic right to stand in the Que.

  • joahan.smal - 2012-09-07 14:04

    When comparing this to the retching that spilled out of Haffajee's computer, it appeared to me that white males definitely have an unfair advantage. It is called reason, intelligence and insight.

  • ricardo.maraton - 2012-09-07 14:07

    Wow!!! Slam Dunk!!

  • james.ellis.98 - 2012-09-07 14:28

    Racial oppression was not just a system of domination; it served certain vested interests. The racially skewed access to all economic assets, the domination of the professions and executive positions in business by white males; all were intended outcomes. The privileged position whites enjoy in South Africa today is not the result of greater diligence. It is the effect of explicitly discriminatory policies. Not surprisingly, like other privileged groups, whites in South Africa want to preserve their ill-gotten gains. Stiff resistance to meaningful change was mounted on a number of fronts virtually from April 28 1994. The arrival of democracy has created the space to make race irrelevant to South African politics. But its salience will only disappear when the outcomes produced by racial domination no longer determine the life opportunities and prospects of most South Africans. Expanding the floor of opportunity for precisely the blacks is transformative. Calling that "racism in reverse" is conspiring to perpetuate racial inequality.

      mark.barker.370 - 2012-09-07 14:53


      Jason - 2012-09-07 17:17

      What an idiot! You have no clue. As a middle aged white South African with very little skills that would be useful to anyone outside the Security field I made a decision to open my own company. Its called discipline and hard work, long hours and many nights of cold sweats.

      dimitripappas - 2012-09-07 20:30

      Sorry, two wrongs don't make a right. It's an informal logical fallacy. If you discriminate against me now, that's only going to to cause a rippling ping-pong effect in the future. When can we all just be equal, hey my friend? One wrong most certainly can make a wrong though, and you're that one wrong on this one I'm afraid

      rich.mashimbye - 2012-09-08 08:47

      Couldn't have said it better!

      Onke.Dali - 2012-09-11 06:30

      The most sober comment I've seen on this site on this matter yet. Unfortunately you might as well fart in the wind. Most people who comment here are neither intelligent (as they claim) nor sober minded. How a person who knows even a little about history cannot appreciate the need for laws like these leaves me confused.

  • don.frost.581 - 2012-09-07 14:29

    It will always be the fault of the white man! Then who on earth destroyed Somalia, Nigeria, DRC etc etc?

      jpstrauss - 2012-09-07 14:35

      The white man made me do it.

      dewalds3 - 2012-09-07 14:54

      Must be the March Hare - was he not also repsonsible for Marikana, Haiti and New Orleans?

      ihekwoabatony.saso - 2012-09-07 15:04

      Idiot, you are very stupid by mentioning Nigeria in this topic, Have you ever been to Nigeria? who told you that Nigeria is Destroyed? That's what you people are good at... talking about something you know nothing about... Terrorism happened to so many great countries in the world,even America, is that why you label Nigeria as a Destroyed Nation? Please show me the refugee camp where you put Nigerians, if its a failed state, Useless Europeans Gold diggers.

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-09-07 15:23

      @dewalds3 - Marikana happened because they killed the March Hare.

      janti.cloete - 2012-09-07 15:48

      The Nigerians use South Africa as their refugee camp....

      ihekwoabatony.saso - 2012-09-07 16:12

      if that should be the case, how many Nigerians is working for you as Garden boy or cleans your houses, how many Nigerians are you paying salaries, that's a prove that Nigerians are far richer than you, they are here because you buy from them, as Giant of Africa they have the right to stay in any countries of their choice in African Continent,as much as South African in Nigeria earning good Money... Wake up from your Ignorance towards Nigeria greatness and wealth

      michele.holmes.1238 - 2012-09-07 18:25

      @ ihekwoabatony.saso - The Nigerian refugee camp is called Hillbrow.

  • andrew.mostert.50 - 2012-09-07 14:57

    Nicely done sir

  • rich.mashimbye - 2012-09-07 14:57

    But sir, the very same thing was done with white people in SA; apartheid was a form of preferential system that catered for the economic interests of Afrikaaners and other white sections of SA, you. never objected to this. It is very much likely that your present higher social rank is a consequence of the past policies of apartheid

      introspector.smith - 2012-09-07 15:08

      I'm typing this slowly - DID YOU READ THE ARTICLE?

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-09-07 15:27

      Rich (the irony of your name is quite amazing...) Has it ever occurred to you that "higher social rank" may be the result of hard work instead of waiting for handouts and reserved jobs?

      tshepo.leballo - 2012-09-07 15:48

      Exactly...whites were empowered for a 100 years through AA...yet somehow it will disadvantage the blackman. Such buffonery..

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-09-08 10:48

      @rich- you seem to forget that the white population, who had the only right to vote, voted in the referendum FOR change (and you reckon there was "never objected"??. If it was against change well who knows what would've happened...the SADF and SAP was sure as hell quite well prepared and armed (unlike their current status btw).

  • andre.fourie.980 - 2012-09-07 14:59

    Very well said Ernst!!!! Very well indeed. Brilliant article.

  • gw.smit - 2012-09-07 15:08

    Brilliant Article! I think though that most South-Africans need readjustment of their moral compas.. Being born into poverty is the main driver behind the eventual inequality label. Its not a rule of thumb but if you cant afford to have children then dont have children. Educated people understand this logic. It is simple math.

  • gw.smit - 2012-09-07 15:09

    Brilliant Article! I think though that most South-Africans need readjustment of their moral compass.. Being born into poverty is the main driver behind the eventual inequality label. It’s not a rule of thumb but if you can’t afford to have children then don’t have children. Educated people understand this logic. It is simple math.

  • hannelie.bezuidenhout.10 - 2012-09-07 15:11

    I grew up poor,studied hard,often work 12hrs a day,with no off days for weeks often..this is how i bought my car,pay my rent for my nice apartment,buy nice clothes.i dont have these things cz im white.i have them cz i work hard.and yet i am advantaged? And more should be taken from me? I agree there was serious injustices,but the whole i entitlement thing will be our country"s downfall......

  • anorkie - 2012-09-07 15:12

    If you manage to get your head out of the hole it is in you will find that White South African get more training in the workplace than Blacks, just study the latest employment equity report. The goals are shifted but for blacks and not whites. Go to the universities and you will find that for the last 10 years much more blacks qualified for degrees, but where are these people, yet much more qualified whites enter the job market. Although B-BBEE is there to help us blacks, it is still in the white man's power to implement. Your lack of implementation is slowly but surely creating another Zimbabwe.. so carry on

  • ruwayne - 2012-09-07 15:13


  • ruwayne - 2012-09-07 15:19

    This author has very "narrow" perspective about the global skill shortage research and use selective antidotal evidence to promote a racially based argument. This type of argument contributes to lack of social cohesion and progress in this country.

      mikenortje - 2012-09-07 15:26

      Yep thats right there is a global skill shortage ........ and how do you fix it?? ....... by chasing away skilled people out of SA with morally racist legistlation.

      anorkie - 2012-09-07 15:33

      Narrow minded if you ask me, 4.5% of South Africans are white male according to him, but yet 4.5% of South Africa occupy 72% of the senior management positions.

      darren.raath.5 - 2012-09-07 15:43

      whites are in these positions because they can do these jobs.ive got no problem if a black runs a company provided he can do the job.apartheid ended in 1994 but was already on the way out in 1991.4.5% of white males versus 94.5% of black indian and coloured,yet they cannot do these jobs. how many farms "given"to blacks are in ruin and financial decay,and im not even talking about zimbabwe or the rest of africa.speaking of africa which should be the richest continent because of its mineral wealth is the poorest because of an elite few that hoard and steal,just like in south africa? how much aid is given to africa because the masses are lazy and just totally visionless,its a "give me give me" attitude. get away from this attitude pick up your shovel and go and do your work,dont always rely on handouts from aid organisations,which by the way are majority white run.

  • neil.purves - 2012-09-07 15:42

    well said, FH has prostituted her news paper at the expense of objectivity, as no sane South African would espouse racist views in today's age.

  • Jacques.N.Kruger - 2012-09-07 16:00

    I believe there is also a possible financial incentive for companies like Woolworths to exclude whites from their payroll. Without having seen the specific statistics for Woolworths it is notable that on average women and specifically black woman are paid less than their white counterparts ( Any company that specifically only employs blacks will not only have a 'moral' advantage, but a financial advantage that can also be leveraged.

  • ccbresler - 2012-09-07 16:02

    The more I see this the more angry I get. If that was their idea, why did they have to advertise this. It is still by far the white man, yes that most endangered species here in SA, who holds this country together and feed the millions of parasites who milk us constantly. Wait for that day when we say 'enough is enough' and we all do leave - the balance will die out within a year; it will become worse than Zimbabwe and you would wish and pray for our return, just like Zambia and Malawi did. Why don't you get some brains and ask the people of Botswana why they treasure and protect their white citizens. In any case, historically the white people and the black people arrived here almost at the same time, from outside ... So it is either both our country or not at all. So stop with your radicalism and your racism and work together with us; we gave you the chance to get out under the Apartheids-regime, be thankful and not hateful! You, and all racists like you, are making a joke of Nelson Mandela's endeavours to create a non-racial rainbow nation, you actually spit on him and should be so ashamed!

  • philip.buys.1 - 2012-09-07 16:10

    I see the Woolies close by is very nice and quiet, food is stacked to the roof and nobody is buying. Big mistake Ian, big mistake.......Nearby, no parking at Pick n pay.

      Truth.nnete - 2012-09-07 16:39

      Is that a wish? Lol,a bad wish it is.Go to one woolworth store and see who are the majority buyers.Woolworth wont fall bcos of minority sour grapes.Live with that!!!

  • manu.dibango.96 - 2012-09-07 16:10

    Here we go again with the subliminal racism. The author talks about affirmative action being 'outcomes based' and his training based solution being 'input based', and there is the chorus of 'Wonderful ... well said'. Do you lot even appreciate the premise of the author's argument? Well let me explain what should be obvious to you. The author is presuming that if you employ a person based on affirmative action, then by necessity that person will be substandard and incompetent. This is a falsehood! This is the kind of thinking that promotes the idea that black employees are not as capable as their other counterparts. It's also the same kind of mentality that makes life very difficult for blacks in the work place. So in your minds if Wollies advertises for AA candidate for a certain position then it means that position will be filled by an incompetent person. It doesn't take much to imagine the hostile working environment that person will be entering, and all because some have this superior notion that a black person can't be as good a worker as others. In the author's mind the person has to be trained first before they are employed. Let that settle in your mind for a while. So what is the author implying? That those employed based on AA have no training? What is motivating all these assumptions? Ferial got it bang on target. AA is the only way to defeat these prejudiced mindsets.

      gillian.stewart.54 - 2012-09-07 16:15

      Well if they are as capable as their other counterparts, then would it not be reasonable to conclude that any race should have the same opportunity to apply for an specific position.

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-09-07 16:40

      gillian the answer is No. For two reasons. 1. A non-representative work environment will lead to biased employment practices. For example if your employees are 100% white, then management will be more inclined to employee a white person. Think back to when you were in school, when you chose teams during PE who did you choose, those who were more like you or less like you? 2. The objective here is to create a representative environment knowing full well that the over represented group enjoys a superior advantage. To give everyone an equal opportunity is to perpetuate the superior advantage enjoyed by the over represented group. For example, I am hiring a salesman. The first candidate is white and has travelled to a few countries and has had odd jobs courtesy of family and friends. The second candidate is equally qualified but has never been outside SA (could never afford to travel). To give the job to the white person is to allow his priviledges to advantage him even more. To refuse the black person is to punish him for the misfortune of his station in life and to deny him the opportunity to correct that misfortune.

      darren.raath.5 - 2012-09-07 18:10

      manu you have a stupid argument. affirmative action simply doesnt work,and let me remind you it was abolished in the states because it did not work.affirmative action employs a coloured person simply for that reason:because they are coloured/ favours on race in our(south africa)unique model,not on skills. if a white 30 year old with skills and experience applied for a job and a black 30 year old with zero experience applied for the same job,because of affirmative action it would go to the black,even though we know then by necessity that person will be substandard and incompetent. This is a not a falsehood! this is a fact. the result:: poor if any productivity and a total kok up due to incompetence. if the black is better experienced ,educated i say give him the job but not just because he is black by a stupid and doomed law made up by a black government.

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-09-07 18:31

      darren what do you mean AA is not working? The objective of AA is to ensure that the majority receive fair representation, and if this comes to pass, then the system is working! The only way the system can be said to be failing is if the majority don't achieve equal representation in the work place. It's interesting how once again the arguments used by people like you against AA is based on the presumption that blacks are incompetent. The AA policy doesn't say that blacks should be given jobs only because they are black. They have to be qualified. Stop misrepresenting the policy to suite your prejudiced agenda.

      fred.warren.986 - 2012-09-07 23:45

      "The author is presuming that if you employ a person based on affirmative action, then by necessity that person will be substandard and incompetent. This is a falsehood!" I suggest you read the above article again - the author doesn't say that at all. Instead he is saying that if you employ people based on their skin colour rather than merit, you will end up employing a large number of incompetent people (although you might also employ some competent people too). Can you see the difference? Although AA says appointees have to be black and competent to get the position, we all know that it doesn't happen in practice or else why are there so many incompetent black people in government?

      sefako.mokgalaka - 2012-09-08 10:32

      Spot on Manu. The noise here is about a black person being incompetent and inexperienced which is just a stereotype created by those who are reluctant to embrace change. In my past experiences I have seen a black person denied a position because they lacked the necessary experience and the same position given to a white person and the same black person asked to train our dear white person.

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-09-08 11:56

      fred your beef with my interpretation is that I said 'All are treated as being incompenent'. In your opinion it should be 'Many will be incompetent and maybe a few will be competent'. Look here fellow 'maybe a few' can be any number ... it can even be zero. So your statements don't anything away from my point that the above article perpetuates stereotypes blacks are incompetent or incapable. Many of these stereotypes are informed by old prejudices. How else does one explain the author's opinion that blacks first need to be trained so that they can compete on an equal footing as whites. This is a total misrepresentation of EE. The EE policy says that for a EE position if a black candidate meets the criteria for the job then they should be given the job. Based on this many of you conclude that a person employed based on this is incompetent. Argh Please. To demonstrate the prejudiced think in play, look at your last statement: "Although AA says appointees have to be black and competent to get the position, we all know that it doesn't happen in practice or else why are there so many incompetent black people in government?" Please tell us fred how did you arrive at the conclusion that 'many blacks in governemtn' are incompetent? Did you do a study or are you going by reports in the media? How do you know this to be a fact?

      manu.dibango.96 - 2012-09-08 12:21

      QuickQuirky, so you think that natural forces will correct the imbalances and inequalities in SA? Tell me Mr when you get sick do you let natural forces take their course or do you resort to medicine? When your car develops problems do you let natural forces fix it or do you seek a mechanic? This natural forces argument is total nonsense. Nature's design favours the strong. Those who favour the natural forces argument only do so because they know that they have the advantage to come out on top. You wouldn't be using the natural forces argument if it meant you being on the receiving end. As for your example about Jews and their achievements, it's mischievious, disingenous and deceitful. EE is there to promote blacks on the understanding that they were historically prevented from achieving. It doesn't in any way stop whites from achieving their life goals. If anything it's blacks who should be using your example because it's us who were handicapped. Who is to say what we could have achieved if your forefathers hand't worked hard to give you advantages at our expense.

  • topdogweb - 2012-09-07 16:11

    I heard Tito Mboweni on Cape Talk this morning stating that as a white person you should take the advertiser to the Labour court for advertising "Black only" jobs.... must have been before my coffee. SA should be way beyond this already. Shame on you Woolworths, your actions are definitely counter productive.

  • walter.warner1 - 2012-09-07 16:23

    Apartheid is still alive, its just aimed at the minority of this country and disadvantages people that had nothing to do with it in the first place. End of discussion!!!

  • mattie.wood.3 - 2012-09-07 16:59

    I will never ever spend 1c oh no that's taken away make it R1.00 at ANY Woolies again Cheers

      mthetheleli.ntshobololo.1 - 2012-09-09 16:16

      If you're not white enough, everyone knows whites love wollies, they can't stay away forever.

  • robin.stayt - 2012-09-07 17:08

    Just bear in mind that white genocide is on the ANC's list and is VERY MUCH in action. 68 000 whites murdered in SA since 1994. 4000 farmers murdered in SA since 1994. Where is the food for and technology the ANC going to come from when we whites have all gone? Just a thought.

  • nonku.butelezi - 2012-09-07 17:11

    Yawn! Let me go get woolies chocolate cake :)

      Jason - 2012-09-07 17:26

      Yes you do that!!! Yawn and act disinterested in the socio economic problems in your country. Useless!

      dimitripappas - 2012-09-07 20:09

      Of course - You have your cake, and do please eat it too. The majority of our leaders are just as lazy, ignorant, and greedy about this country's problems as yourself, which is precisely why things are going rotten -- it's no wonder you can't see it: the correct term for that is 'blind-eye', FYI. I do hope that you come to realise that if things continue on at this rate, you'll soon come to find that you WON'T have any more Woolies chocolate cake left to eat once things finally hit the fan... and of course that date is edging ever-closer by the minute, as this crying country continues to rapidly degenerate under the ANC's bloody hands whilst you're gloating about your cake. So, my dear friend, enjoy that cake whilst you can: after all, it's a luxury that was proudly brought to your spear-wielding, malaria-ridden ancestors, all the way from none other than... the West :)

      nonku.butelezi - 2012-09-07 21:04

      Amazing how we must all react for the sake of equality yet the same people were dead quiet and enjoyed the fruits only two decades ago. Boycott Woolworths if you want to, blame the Government if you want to. If you blame black people for being on the receiving end you are also blaming yourselves for being on the receiving end during the apartheid times (I wasn't the one that mentioned history first).

  • riaan.smith.777 - 2012-09-07 18:13

    Ernest Roets, you are sooooo right muy man, wish more people will see this!!!

  • gottlieb.gauche - 2012-09-07 19:26

    ronald.utenhage. Exactly like you say it. You saw it as a challenge and you succeeded. What is AA saying to Black people. It is saying that they are inferior to Whites. People like Caster Semenya and Sifiso Nhlapo are being discriminated against because they got there on their performance and merits and not because they are black.

  • alwyn.vantonder - 2012-09-07 22:46

    All we have to do, is look at the state of each black governed country, to see what we can expect in the future.. All african countries have dictators who steal, corrupt and kill!

  • arianna.jugmohan - 2012-09-08 03:13

    I wish that we were a nation with more empathy for our fellow brothers and sisters (regardless of race). If we could have more love, compassion & understanding in our hearts, perhaps then, we wouldn't see such ugly rhetoric. Personally, I a m soo saddened by the racial conflict that continues to plague our country - especially in recent weeks. Step into the shoes of your 'opposition' before you make a judgement call. And be kinder with your words. While we all worry about the future of our kids & would like them to have financial security, I think we should focus a lot more on raising them to be compassionate and free from our own bias. I wouldn't like to see my kids grow up & live in a generation where they still see comments like I have seen, or worse still, write some of the comments themselves that I have been reading on opinion pieces & news articles in the last couple of weeks. Foster love & kindness in your hearts, people ? It starts with you!

  • jaco.flemix - 2012-09-08 05:55

    @youngblackandangry and @thurlo and @inhewhoabatony,it is time to take of your blindness for you,results and destruction of land reform is currently happening and your so called ANC is hidding it from you.At his very moment the ANC Goverment is busy importing chichens and potatos ens due to the fact that there is not enough food in the country which now also in the proses killing the rest of the left over farmers in this country because they cannot produce it at the same price as the imported goods.Because our farmers get no supsidies like foreign farmers gets from there goverments but ours instead are been tax to dead.Now what is happening is what we as ("white capitalist"as you like to call us.)is roller coasting effect.Farmers dont buy annimal feed and proteins ens. farmers are using on a daily basis.Now these factorys that produces these products was forced to close some of there factorys and retrence staff by the thousends ,go and read about it and educate yourself before it is to late to do something about it,o sorry it is to late because morrans like you like to live in the past and was to blind to see what was happening.You were so focus on what the 'white capitalist' was doing that you didn't see that your black bosses was screwing up this country.My company also had to suffer financially because of it which in the end will lead to basicly no increase or retrencment.And when your children willbehungry tell them again your racist comments,you will be killed by them

  • cpsmit - 2012-09-08 06:53

    Beautifully explained, Ernest. My feelings exactly, but I do not have the vocabulary to express them without reverting to profanity.

  • matt.cowell.90 - 2012-09-08 08:22

    Truly, I continue to be stunned and amazed as to comments pertaining to 'dis-advantaged' thinking. Why is that one group continues to wallow in the pity of the past, and seems to gain little if any mettle of their own. Why can they not take the situation and create advantage for themselves instead of waiting for advantage to be dished out to them. Africa has enjoyed loads of opportunities to improve itself, and yet appologetics remain as to why it operates as one if the wold's great laughing stocks of uselessness when pulling itself together. The continent that posseses the finest prospects of anywhere on earth, with climate, soils, minerals, wildlife, ocean resources, yet it remains a corrupt continent where a few thrive at the expense of so many others. Maybe greed and a gigantic inferiority complex, an ancestral worship culture which drags people and holds them prisoners of the past, and where the culture essentially responds to fear, hence our traditionally violent past. Maybe it's the fact that owning up and placing humility before pride that is just too hard. Those who want to - will. Those who don't, will just make excuses. Grow up Africa, and start taking responsibility!

  • bob.jaan.9 - 2012-09-08 09:35

    goed geskryf. Dag 4 van die boikot is n go. Woolies maak steeds die fout om te dink dit is n gewildheidspeiling. Dit is absoluut irrelevant hoeveel mense nie die boikot support nie - WANT DIE SPULLETJIE GAAN TOG NIE NOU ADDISIONELE AANKOPE DOEN OM OP TE MAAK VIR DIE PERSONE WAT NIE MEER BY WOOLIES KOOP NIE...FEIT IS, WOOLIES VERLOOR NOU SALES EN DIE TILLS RAAK LEEG. Ander probleem waarmee wooliesnou sit , is dat hulle in hulle optrede waar hulle seker jobs net beskikbaar maak vir nie-blankes (pakkers/kassiere), basies insinueer dat daardie jobs net deur nie-blankes gedoen kan word...waar ander jobs(management/IT ) weer oop is vir almal - waar hulle dan insinueer dat hulle dalk vermoed dat nie-blankes nie daardie meer geskoolde jobs kan doen ek nie-blank was, dat sou DIE optrede van Woolies my nog meer de moer in gemaak het. anyhow, nog n dag sonder woolies food ;-0 volg die debat op FB

  • Leah - 2012-09-08 09:59

    Thank you Ernst. Well said.

  • Bra Tebzaah Sibilanga - 2012-09-08 14:45

    Afriforum masquerading as 'human' rights activist group.Yet it has proven time and time again that by human,they mean whites.They are against everything that is black in this country.Afriforum should change their slogan if they have any to:Afriforum,white people we are on your side.The rest,go to hell.It suits them well.

      pieter0827006294 - 2012-09-10 08:38

      Afriforum has actually defended quite a few black people in land invasion cases.

  • Bra Tebzaah Sibilanga - 2012-09-08 17:18

    It is going to take many years to fix the imbalances caused by the apartheid regime.Sadly,some people who are against change will take it personal.Their feelings shouldn't bother those who want to fix the mess created by the past regime.

      dimitripappas - 2012-09-08 20:26

      It has already taken many years, but how far have we actually come? Surely we should at least be on the road to recovery, right? Well guess what, 20 years have brought us nowhere. As you can see, poverty is still rampant, inequality and racial discrimination are at an all time high since 1994. "take many years to fix the imbalances"? Keep dreaming: as long as the ANC remains in power, It's not about how long it's going to take, because then I'm afraid we're going to be waiting until the heat death of our universe in a few billion years time. What's needed is a change in government, and for educated black people to teach their scallywag brethren to stop reproducing like promiscuous rabbits, because not even AIDS is able to suppress your kinds' over-explosion in population. If you can't afford kids, don't have them, simple. Our leadership in Presedent Zuma isn't setting a very good example with his 23 wives now, is he?

  • charnelle.bester - 2012-09-08 17:48

    Quick question for the Black people in this country: Do you not feel insulted by these policies that the government allows you the advantage after 18 years but do nothing to enhance your skill? With reference to the fittest athlete - Is it really such a victory if you were put far ahead of the fastest athlete to start from? Wouldnt be such a big achievement for me, the entitlement factor is never as great as the deserving factor, its not as rewarding either. When wealth is given to us without earning it, does it really mean that much?

      sefako.mokgalaka - 2012-09-08 21:43

      I would not be insulted. Whites needed a government policy to treat black and white employees the same. I have seen so many promotions given to whites with very little experience at the expense of qualified blacks with experience. ARE YOU NOT insulted when you inherit the land that has been acquired through dubious means in the past?

      charnelle.bester - 2012-09-08 21:57

      Not at all insulted as quite frankly I was not given any land. I paid my own way, STUDIED, KEPT A JOB, PAID OFF A BOND. I have seen so many blacks get a job and just not pitch up for work for weeks on end. This being management positions. Dont feel guilty about being white. What i have is what i earned without hell from gauvament. Its called taking accountability for your own life and jot being spoon fed. Given land lol.